The finalizing days of pregnancy have just been over and you might be thinking of getting that sound sleep desperately. But very soon you realize that your bundle of joy has finally arrived after lots of reckonings, bringing enormous joy and charisma to life, your craving for the sound sleep is actually increasing with each passing day. Juggling between childcare and the household chores hardly leaves time for gaining proper sleep.
Baby sleep patterns are quite different from ours which can upset your everyday schedule effortlessly. And lack of sleep can make you feel tired, irritable and devoid of energy to accomplish the responsibilities. Since a baby cannot sleep through the night, at least for the first few (2-3) months, you need to attune yourself tobaby’s rhythm.
Thereafter, you can slowly accustom baby to the changed world (outside the comfort of the womb). In developing baby sleep patterns, the following components can be kept under consideration. The rest is mainly practice and patience.
Baby Sleep Patterns Tips
Baby’s Signs of Sleep and slumber
By 3-6 months of age, babies can be trained for depicting suited sleep patterns. Babies can sleep throughout night now and their sleep can be adjusted to certain extent. Even though you may not be able to inculcate a precise pattern (you want your baby to have),baby can at least come close to the schedule (you want).
In developing baby sleep patterns, recognizing signs of sleep and slumber is an important thing. Keep a watch over signals like rubbing eyes, fussing and yawning. Some babies can also show disinterest or look away from you when they want to rest and go to sleep.
Your child can have her own unique sign(s). Identify the sign(s) and put the baby to rest. If your baby gets overtired, she can become cranky and getting sleep can be difficult. There is no point keeping a baby awake beyond certain limit as it can add discomfort to the sleeping session.
Bedtime Routine and Sleep Training
At 3 months, babies usually sleep for 15 hours a day. Start a bed time routine as soon as you think your baby can implement it. It can be anything like changing clothes, preparing baby bed or arranging the sleeping room. Usually, babies stick to their sleep patterns; if your child displays sudden deviation from the usual pattern, she may be ill or experiencing some discomfort. Sometimes, a deviation in baby’s behavior can be due to developmental changes.
By about 4 months of age, babies begin to develop more of a regular sleep pattern and skip most of their night feedings. However, be careful (and gradual) when developing a sleep pattern for your small child as too much too soon can be unfavorable for both of you.
Dissociation of Eating and Sleeping
Do not associate eating with sleeping. If your baby wants milk, give it prior to sleep and do not use the bottle as a motivation to put her to sleep. If the baby goes to sleep while feeding, you should stop feeding and let her sleep. If you have a temptation to give milk (bottle feed) so that she sleeps uninterrupted, resist it. This may cause overfeeding and make it difficult for the baby to have sound sleep. Feeding while sleeping also poses choking hazard and the possibility of ear infection.
Day and Night Sleep Sequence
If you give the liberty of enjoying night as fun time, your baby is likely to adopt and implement the same throughout infancy and and even later in baby’s childhood. Babies should be made aware that night is meant for resting and day is supposed to be playtime. This can be done by stimulating an active schedule during the day and gradually settling down to a lesser active one at night.
You can also use less of light but avoid complete darkness. Keep her active and engaged during the day so that there is less of sleep at daytime. This can serve as a reserve for enjoying sleep during the night. Avoid too much play just before going to bed.
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Independent and Timely Sleep
Babies should learn to sleep independently (no matter how much you feel tempted to rock and attune to the lullabies). Love and affection is more fruitful when she is awake. If you make it habit to have those pre-sleep rocking (or lullaby) sessions, your baby may trouble you for the same when she grows up to be a toddler. So, avoid adhering to an extended ‘intimate’ habit which can be difficult to implement later.
Snoozing through night can be common in many children. Many babies learn to handle this on their own. If your baby finds it difficult to go to sleep after night awakening, teach her to do so when she is still drowsing. Help baby differentiate between ‘sleep time’ and ‘play time’.
Good sleep patterns can also be inculcated by giving the opportunity to sleep in the same place at almost roughly the same time every day and night. Avoid spending a long time holding baby before putting her to sleep. Holding too long or rocking may provide a temporary solution to sleep but pose long term considerations. Waking up timely in the morning can also be a good habit (which you would soon realize when she starts day boarding or school). She can get accustomed to a schedule and train her mind better.
Deliberate Feeding or Waking up to Feed
Babies essentially do not need to be fed deliberately or through interrupted sleeping habits. If your baby is otherwise healthy and showing good signs of growth, you need not give her food calculatingly. Usually, when she is 2 months old, she can demand feed. You can discuss this with your pediatrician for determining the exact requirement.
Patience and Follow up for Result
When it comes to developing a habit in children, parents may give up too soon. Teaching a skill can take time and perseverance. Some babies can attune faster while others can be slow learners. But parents need to be patient because good things may not come that easily.
Everyday chores can be overwhelming when babies are involved; giving up sound sleep can be the last thing in anybody’s mind. It may not be too early to begin teaching such skills to your young one . As far your baby feels good, happy and is not sick, baby is probably learning things rightly.